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ELEC425/1-2012 1

Assignment 4

Assignment #4.

5.1 (1.0 %), 5.2 (0.6 %), 5.3 (1.0 %), 5.5 (0.4 %), 5.8 (1.0 %), 5.9 (0.4 %), 5.10
(0.6 %)

5.1. Band gap and photodetection.

a) Determine the maximum value of the energy gap (bandgap) which a
semiconductor, used as a photodetector, can have if it is to be sensitive to
yellow light (600 nm).
b) A photodetector whose area is 5 × 10⁻² cm² is irradiated with yellow light
whose intensity is 2 mW cm⁻². Assuming that each photon generates one
electron-hole pair (EHP), calculate the number of EHPs generated per
second.
c) From the known energy gap of the semiconductor GaAs (Eg = 1.42 eV),
calculate the primary wavelength of photons emitted from this crystal as a
result of electron-hole recombination. Is this wavelength in the visible?
d) Will a silicon photodetector be sensitive to the radiation from a GaAs laser?
Why?

Solution.

a)
hc
E=
λ
6.626 × 10 −34 × 3 × 108
E= −9
= 3.313 × 10 −19 J or 2.07 eV
600 × 10

b)
I ph P0
# of EHP generated per second = # of incident photons per second = =
e hν

where Iph/e is # of electrons per second and P₀/hν is # photons per second

P0 (2 ×10−3 × 5 ×10−2 )W
Therefore, # of EHP generated per second = = −19
= 3.02 ×1014 s −1
hν (3.313 ×10 ) J
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c)
hc 1.24
λ= = ≈ 0.873 µm this is infrared light and it is not in visible region.
E 1.42

d)

for Si, Eg = 1.12 eV and for GaAs, Eg = 1.42 eV

corresponding cut-off wavelength for Si is
hc 1.24
λcut−off = = ≈ 1.107 µm
Eg 1.12

The cut-off wavelength of GaAs is shorter (873 nm) than cut-off wavelength of Si
(1.107 μm); thus, Si photodetector will be sensitive to the radiation from a GaAs
laser. In other words, the bandgap of the silicon is smaller than it is in GaAs and
emitted photons from laser (GaAs) will have higher energy than silicon’s energy
bandgap. Consequently, photons will result in generation of EHP in silicon
photodetector.

5.2. Absorption coefficient.

a) If d is the thickness of a photodetector material, Iₒ is the intensity of the
incoming radiation, show that the number of photons absorbed per unit
volume of sample is
I 0 [1 − exp(− αd )]
n ph =
dhv

b) What is the thickness of a Ge and In0.53Ga0.47As crystal layer that is needed
for absorbing 90% of the incident radiation at 1.5 μm?
c) Suppose that each absorbed photon liberates one electron (or electron hole
pair) in a unity quantum efficiency photodetector and that the
photogenerated electrons are immediately collected. Thus, the rate of charge
collection is limited by rate of photogeneration. What is the external
photocurrent density for the photodetectors in (b) if the incident radiation is
100 μW mm⁻²?
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Assignment 4

Photon energy (eV)
5 4 3 2 1 0.8 0.7
0.9
1×108

Ge In0.7Ga0.3As0.64P0.36
1×107

In0.53Ga0.47As
Si
1×106
GaAs
α (m-1)
InP
1×105
a-Si:H

1×104

1×103
0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1.0 1.2 1.4 1.6 1.8
Wavelength (µm)
Absorption coefficient (α) vs. wavelength (λ) for various semiconductors
(Data selectively collected and combined from various sources.)
Figure 5.3. S. O. Kasap “Optoelectronics and Photonics”

Solution.

a)

let I₀ is incoming radiation which is represented by energy flowing per unit area
per second and I₀[1-exp(-αd)] is the absorbed intensity.

Photon flux is the number of photons arriving per unit area per unit second,
P₀/(hνArea)=I₀/hν.
I 0 [1 − exp(− αd )]
So, absorbed photon flux per unit area is .

I 0 [1 − exp(− αd )]
# of photons absorbed per volume =
dhν
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Assignment 4

b)
from Fig. 5.3 α ≈ 6.0 × 10⁵ m⁻¹ is the absorption coefficient for Ge at 1.5 μm
incident radiation
I (d ) = I 0 exp(− αd ) = 0.1I 0
exp(− αd ) = 0.1
ln 0.1
d =−
α
ln 0.1
d =− ≈ 3.84 µm
6.0 × 105
from Fig. 5.3 α ≈ 7.5 × 10⁵ m⁻¹ is the absorption coefficient for In0.53Ga0.47As at 1.5
μm incident radiation
I (d ) = I 0 exp(− αd ) = 0.1I 0
exp(− αd ) = 0.1
ln 0.1
d =−
α
ln 0.1
d =− ≈ 3.07 µm
7.5 × 105

c)

given ηQE = 1, the rate of charge collection is limited by rate of photogeneration,
and I₀ = 100 μW/mm² = 100 W/m²

I ph P I / area I 0 (1 − exp(− αd ))
= = =
e hν hν hν × area

I ph e × I 0 [1 − exp(− αd )] e × 0.9 I 0 × λ
J ph = = =
area hν hc
−19 −6
1.6 × 10 × 100 × 0.9 × 1.5 × 10
J ph = −34 8
= 108.663 A/m 2 or 10.866 A/cm 2
6.626 × 10 × 3 × 10

The reflection of the light from the surface of the photodetector is neglected.
Assumed that the anti-reflective coating has efficiency 100%.

5.3. Ge Photodiode.

Consider a commercial Ge pn junction photodiode which has the responsivity
shown in Figure 5.20. Its photosensitive area is 0.008 mm². It is used under a
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reverse bias of 10 V when the dark current is 0.3 μA and the junction capacitance
is 4 pF. The rise time of the photodiode is 0.5 ns.

a) Calculate its quantum efficiency at 850, 1300 and 1550 nm.
b) What is the intensity of light at 1.55 μm that gives a photocurrent equal to
the dark current?
c) What would be the effect of lowering the temperature on the responsivity
curve?
d) Given that the dark current is in the range of microamperes, what would be
the advantage in reducing the temperature?
e) Suppose that the photodiode is used with a 100 Ω resistance to sample the
photocurrent. What limits the speed of response?
Responsivity(A/W)
0.8
0.7
0.6
0.5
0.4
0.3
0.2
0.1
0
0.5 1 1.5 2
Wavelength(µm)

The responsivity of a commercial Ge pn
junction photodiode
© 1999 S.O. Kasap, Optoelectronics (Prentice Hall)

Figure 5.20. S. O. Kasap “Optoelectronics and Photonics”
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Assignment 4

Solution.

a)

area = 0.008 mm² = 8.0·10⁻⁹ m²
I ph / e
ηQE =
P0 / hν
I ph
R=
P0

Rhν hcR
η EQ = =
e eλ

Wavelength, nm 850 1300 1550
Responsivity, A/W 0.26 0.58 0.72
ηQE, % 38.0 55.43 57.71

b) Iph = Id = 0.3 μA

P0 = I ph / R = 0.3 × 10−6 / 0.72 ≈ 0.42 × 10 −6 W or 0.42 µW
P0 0.42 × 10 −6
I0 = = = 52.5 W/m 2 or 5.25 mW/cm2
area 8.0 × 10−9

c)

The energy band gap is increasing with the decreasing of the temperature;
consequently, the cut-off wavelength is decreasing as temperature is decreasing.
So, the higher photon energy is needed to initiate photon absorption. For instance,
the curves representing the relationship between absorption coefficient and
wavelength demonstrated in Figure 5.3 will be shifted to the left, when temperature
is decreased. Hence, the same absorption coefficient for a given semiconductor
will be at lower wavelength and at higher photon energy when temperature is
decreased. The change in the absorption coefficient attributable to the variations in
temperature means that the optical power absorbed in the depletion region and the
quantum efficiency vary with temperature. The peak of the responsivity in Figure
5.20 will move to the left, to the lower values of the wavelength, with decreasing
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temperature, since the amount of the optical power absorbed in depletion region
increases with the decreasing in temperature value.

d)

Dark current is proportional to exp(-Eg/kBT), therefore, it will reduced if the
temperature will be decreased. The advantage is the improvement of SNR.

e)

time constant limitation = RC = 100 Ω·4 pF = 0.4 ns
The RC constant is comparable to the rise time, 0.5 ns. Therefore, the speed of the
response depends on both the rise time and RC constant

5.5. InGaAs pin Photodiodes.

Consider a commercial InGaAs pin photodiode whose responsivity is shown in
Figure 5.22. Its dark current is 5 nA.

a) What optical power at a wavelength of 1.55 μm would give a photocurrent
that is twice the dark current? What is the QE of the photodetector at 1.55
μm?
b) What would be the photocurrent if the incident power in (a) was at 1.3 μm?
What is the QE at 1.3 μm operation?
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Assignment 4

Responsivity(A/W)
1
0.8
0.6

0.4
0.2
0
800 1000 1200 1400 1600 1800
Wavelength(nm)

The responsivity of an InGaAs pin
photodiode
© 1999 S.O. Kasap, Optoelectronics (Prentice Hall)

Figure 5.22. S. O. Kasap “Optoelectronics and Photonics”

Solution.

a)
I ph
R= = 0.87 from Figure 5.22
P0
2 × I dark 2 × 5 × 10 −9
I ph
P0 = = = ≈ 11.49 nW
R R 0.87

hcR 6.626 ×10−34 × 3 ×108 × 0.87
ηQE = = ≈ 0.6973 or 70.0 %
eλ 1.6 ×10−19 ×1550 ×10−9

From the dimensional identities: [Iph] = A=C/s, [P₀] = W = J/s, [R] = A/W = C/J

So, responsivity is the charge collected per unit incident energy

b)

for λ = 1.3 μm R = 0.82 A/W from Figure 5.22
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I ph
P0 = = 11.49 nW from part (a)
R

I ph = P0 R = 11.49 × 10 −9 × 0.82 = 9.422 nA

hcR 6.626 ×10−34 × 3 ×108 × 0.82
ηQE = = ≈ 0.784 or 78.4 %
eλ 1.6 ×10−19 ×1.3 ×10−6

5.8. Transient photocurrents in a pin photodiode.

Consider a reverse biased Si pin photodiode as shown in Figure 5.23. It is
appropriately reverse biased so that the field in the depletion region (i-Si layer)
E=Vr/W is the saturation field. Thus, photogenerated electrons and holes in this
layer drift at saturation velocities vde and vdh. Assume that the field E is uniform
and that the thickness of the p⁺ is negligible. A very short light pulse
(infinitesimally short) photogenerates EHPs in the depletion layer as shown in
Figure 5.23 which results in an exponentially decaying EHP concentrations across
W. Figure 5.23 shows the photogenerated electron concentration at time t = 0 and
also at a later time t when the electrons have drifted a distance ∆x = vde∆t. Those
that reach the back electrode B become collected. The electron distribution shifts at
a constant velocity until the initial electrons at A reach B which represents the
longest transit time τe = W/vde. Similar argument apply to holes but they drift in the
opposite direction and their transit time τh = W/vdh where vdh is their saturation
velocity. The photocurrent density at any instant is
j ph = je (t ) + jh (t ) = eN e vde + eN h vdh

where Ne and Nh are the overall electron and hole concentration in the sample at
time t. Assume for convenience that the cross sectional area A = 1 (derivations
below are not affected as we are interested in the photocurrent densities).

a) Sketch the hole distribution at a time t where τh > t > 0 and τh = hole drift
time = W/vdh.
b) The electron concentration distribution n(x) at time t corresponds to that at t
= 0 shifted by vdet. Thus the total electrons in W is proportional to
integrating this distribution n(x) from A at x = vdet to B at x = W.
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Given n(x) = n₀exp(-αx) at t = 0, where n₀ is the electron concentration at x
= 0 at t = 0 we have
W
Total number of electrons at time t = ∫vdet
n0 exp[− α ( x − vdet )]dx

and
Total number electrons at time t
Ne =
Volume
Then
1 W n0    t  
N e (t ) =
W ∫
vdet
n0 exp[− α ( x − vdet )]dx =
W


1 − exp  − α W 
 τ  

1 −
e  
 
where Ne(0) is the initial overall electron concentration at time t = 0, that is,
1 W n0
N e (0 ) =
W ∫ 0
n0 exp(− αx )dx =

[1 − exp(− αW )]
We note that n₀ depends on the intensity I of the light pulse so that n₀ ∝ I.
Show that for holes,
n0 exp(− αW )    t  
N h (t ) = exp αW 1 −  − 1
Wα    τ h  
c) Given W = 40 μm, α = 5 × 10⁴ m⁻¹, vde = 10⁵ m/s, vdh = 0.8 × 10⁵ m/s, n₀ =
10¹³ cm⁻³, calculate the electron and hole transit times, sketch the
photocurrent densities je(t) and jh(t) and hence jph(t) as a function of time,
and calculate the initial photocurrent. What is your conclusion?
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Photogenerated electron concentration
exp(−αx) at time t = 0

v de

x
A B
W

hυ > E g E

e–
h+

iph R

Vr
An infinitesimally short light pulse is absorbed throughout the
depletion layer and creates an EHP concentration that decays
exponentially
© 1999 S.O. Kasap, Optoelectronics (Prentice Hall)

Figure 5.23. S. O. Kasap “Optoelectronics and Photonics”

Solution.

a)

The hole distribution is resemble to the electron distribution as it is shown in
Figure 5.23. An infinitesimally short light pulse is absorbed throughout the
depletion layer and creates an EHP concentration that decays exponentially.
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b)
1 W −vdht n0
N h (t ) =
W
0 ∫ n0 exp[− α ( x + vdht )]dx =

[exp(− αvdht ) − exp(− αW )]
n exp(− αW )    t  
N h (t ) = 0 exp αW 1 −  − 1
Wα    τ h  

c)

40 × 10 −6
τ e = W / vde = = 400 ps
105
40 × 10 −6
τ h = W / vdh = = 500 ps
0.8 × 105

At time t = 0, Ne(0) = Nh(0), n₀ = 10¹³ cm⁻³ = 10⁷ m⁻³
n0
N e (0 ) = [1 − exp(− αW )]

1019
N e (0 ) =
40 × 10 −6 × 5 × 10 4
[ ( )]
1 − exp − 5 × 10 4 × 40 × 10 −6 ≈ 4.323 × 1018 m -3 or 4.3 × 1012 cm -3

The initial currents are

je (0 ) = eN e (0 )vde = 1.6 × 10 −19 × 4.3 × 1018 × 105 ≈ 6.9 × 10 4 A/m 2 or 6.9 A/cm 2 or 69 mA/mm2

jh (0 ) = eN h (0 )vdh = 1.6 × 10 −19 × 4.3 × 1018 × 0.8 × 105 ≈ 5.5 × 10 4 A/m 2 or 5.5 A/cm 2 or 55 mA/mm2
the total initial photocurrent is je(0)+jh(0) = 69+55= 124 mA/mm²

The individual transient photocurrents are given by

en0vde    t  
je (t ) = eN e (t )vde = 1 − exp − αW 1 −   for t < τ e
Wα    τ e  

en0vdh exp(− αW )    t  
jh (t ) = eN h (t )vdh = exp αW 1 −  − 1 for t < τ h
Wα    τ h  

The response is determined by the slowest transient time. There is a kink in the
photocurrent waveform when all the electrons have been swept out at τe = 400 ns.
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Assignment 4

x 10
4 Photocurrent density
14

12

10
Photocurrent density (A/m2)

j (t)
t
8
j (t)
e Total photocurrent density

6

j (t) electrons
4 h

holes
2

0
0 1 2 3 4 5 6
Time (sec) x 10
-10

τe τh

5.9. Fiber attenuation and InGaAs pin Photodiode.

Consider the commercial InGaAs pin photodiode whose responsivity is shown in
Figure 5.22. This is used in a receiver circuit that needs a minimum of 5 nA
photocurrent for a discernible output signal (acceptable signal to noise ratio for the
customer). Suppose that the InGaAs pin PD is used at 1.3 μm operation with a
single mode fiber whose attenuation is 0.35 dB km⁻¹. If the laser diode emitter can
launch at most 2 mW of power into the fiber, what is the maximum distance for the
communication without a repeater?

Solution.

If Iph = 5 nA, R = 0.81 A/W at 1.3 μm wavelength from Figure 5.22

I ph 5 ×10−9
Power absorbed by photodiode = P0 = = = 6.173 × 10−9 W
R 0.81
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Assignment 4

 2 × 10 −3 
The attenuation loss is 10 log10 (Pin / Pout ) = 10 log10   = 55.105 dB
−9 
 6.173 × 10 

From attenuation coefficient α = 0.35 dB/km

The maximum distance for the communication without a repeater, L, is given as
attenuation loss 55.105
L= = = 157.444 km
α 0.35

5.10. Photoconductive detector.

An n-type Si photodetector has a length L = 100 μm and a hole lifetime of 1 μs.
The applied bias to the photoconductor is 10 V.

a) What are the transit times, te and th, of an electron and a hole across L? What
is the photoconductive gain?
b) It should be apparent that as electrons are much faster than holes, a
photogenerated electron leaves the photoconductor very quickly. This leaves
behind a drifting hole and therefore a positive charge in the semiconductor.
Secondary (i.e. additional electrons) then flow into the photoconductor to
maintain neutrality in the sample and the current contributes to flow. These
events will continue until the hole has disappeared by recombination, which
takes on average a time τ. Thus more charges flow through the contact per
unit time than charges actually photogenerated per unit time. What will
happen if the contacts are not ohmic, i.e. they are not injecting?
c) What can you say about the product ∆σ and the speed of response which is
proportional to 1/τ.

Solution.

a)

from given length and applied voltage E=V/L=10 V/100 μm = 10⁵ V/m

from the inside cover of the textbook: µe = 1350 cm 2V −1s −1 , µ h = 450 cm 2V −1s −1

The transit times of an electron and a hole across L is given
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Assignment 4

L 100 × 10 −6
te = = = 7.41 ns
µ e E 1350 × 10−4 × 105
L 100 × 10 −6
th = = = 22.22 ns
µ h E 450 × 10−4 × 105

Another way to solve for transit times of an electron and hole across L in Si is by
using Figure 5.7: ve =1.3 × 10⁴ m/s at E = 10⁵ V/m and vh ≈ 4.5 × 10³ m/s

L 100 × 10 −4
te = = = 7.69 ns
ve 1.3 × 10 4
L 100 × 10 − 4
th = = = 22.22 ns
vh 4.5 × 103

Photoconductive gain is
Rate of electron flow in external circuit τ (µ e + µ h )E
G= =
Rate of electron generation by light absorption L
1× 10 −6 (1350 + 450 ) × 10 −4 × 105
G= = 180
100 × 10 −6
b) if the contacts are not ohmic, secondary electrons cannot flow into the
photoconductor to maintain neutrality. So, only the photogenerated charges can
flow through the external circuit; no excess charge can flow and we will not get
photoconductive gain. If the contacts cannot inject carriers, then there will be no
photocurrent gain, G = 1.

c) change in the conductivity or photoconductivity is
eηIλτ (µe + µ h )
∆σ =
hcd

The speed of response is inversely proportional to the recombination time of the
minority carriers, τ. For instance, if the light is turned off, it will take τ seconds for
the excess carriers to disappear by recombination. Therefore, the product of ∆σ and
the speed of response is proportional to
1 eηIλ (µe + µ h )
∆σ =
τ hcd

which is constant for a given device geometry and light intensity.